Hidebound, adj.: Oriented toward or confined to the past; extremely conservative; narrow and rigid in opinion; inflexible.
I've been doing some more thinking about the iPhone and smartphone cameras generally, and why I don't like them.
I should acknowledge Ben Rosengart's point about the iPhone being great for communication and note-taking. That's true. Many times I've used it to simply show something to someone, to make contact, to record information, even just to grab a phone number on a sign quickly. I can't say I don't use it to make photographs—I've shown a number here on TOP, for instance these—but I have a lot of trouble taking it seriously.
This is partially because I have a strong sense of which camera I want to be seeing with at any given point in time. That's probably something that's relatively peculiar to me, a matter of personality and character—I've always hated having the wrong camera with me, or, in past times, having the wrong film in the camera. I get very symaptico with specific materials, and then I don't want to be using anything else. If I want one particular lens, then I'm not happy being "forced" to use a different one. This is probably somewhat neurotic and non-adaptive.
I also acknowledge that tomorrow's photographers may well get their start with smartphone cameras today, and some coming generation might well have the same sort of rose-tinted nostalgia for early (i.e., current) smartphone cameras as I have for Contax SLRs and Tri-X.
I think I should be brave and acknowledge one more possibility: that personal all-purpose devices with camera functionality included might relegate cameras like the Nikon D4 to about the relevance that 4x5 film cameras have now, which means that I'll turn out to be part of the generation resisting change and grousing about new technology where smartphones are concerned. I'm not going to grant that this is true—yet—but I can't deny the possibility. I've read a lot of photo history, including a lot of old primary sources, and a "hidebound" old guard professing loyalty to older methods and decrying new technology has been an ongoing theme; it's been a consistent feature of photography pretty much from the start. A good researcher could probably find examples of Daguerreotypists and wet collodion photographers decrying the decline of those processes.
The hidebound old guard has nothing to do with age, by the way. Plenty of the most neo-centric photographers I've ever known were old guys who got excited about every new development and cared about the most avant-guard and cutting edge technologies.
The trouble with that formulation is that nobody knows what the future really looks like. Maybe smartphone photography is just a small flash in the pan, another evolutionary dead-end, and it will be as forgotten as the disc camera or still video within a few years.
But maybe not. Am I just part of a hidebound old guard? It's possible. Maybe I should get an iPhone 6 and start taking all my photos with it. Why resist change?
If I did, maybe I could also get a Contax SLR and start shooting Tri-X again, too. :-)
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Featured Comments from:
Dan: "Why resist change? Why not resist whatever you think will lower your standards in the final output you choose to show? A lot of the cell phone stuff is throw away photography. See it, click it, show it and delete. Any serious photographer can make good images no matter the camera. Why limit yourself in using something you know up front is not up to the technical quality you believe will give you the results you want? It is the old argument—do you want to come home with two or three fine images or two or three hundred you will throw away?"
Chuck Albertson (partial comment): "If a picture is worth taking, it's worth taking well."